corruption

Are the Fairground Boards Guilty of Embezzlement?

Email letter to Mr. Quiroz, Branch Chief of Calif. Dept Food and Agriculture, published with permission by Linda Sutter – (letter emailed on April 22, 2019). Publishing this on April 30, 2019

NOTE BY EDITOR,  Donna Westfall:  Local county resident, Linda Sutter, started her own investigation after reading the 2017/2018 Del Norte County Grand Jury report on the two Fair Boards stating that the local board spent or transferred $921,920.81 without providing back-up documentation.  “R7. The Local Board should provide more detailed accounting of income, expenditures, and transfers to provide greater transparency and accountability to the public.”

Dear Mr. Quiroz,

My name is Linda Sutter and I reside in Del Norte County. I would personally like to thank you and the 4 person team you sent to Del Norte County to Audit the 41stDAA, it finally brought out some of the truth.

I have some serious concerns of the findings that were listed within the findings of the audit that would be considered Embezzlement under California Penal Code 504 which states in pertinent part:

“A public officer, agent, or appointed is guilty of embezzlement if he or she fraudently uses any public property or funds, and uses them in a way not consistent with his official authority. A public official is anyone in a position of official authority that is conferred by a state.” (Randy Hatfield and Kim Floyd as well as the board members of the 41st DAA)

Mr. Hatfield and Kim Floyd, whom are related, both utilized public money to purchase alcohol, to purchase hotel rooms exceeding the amounts mandated by the state.

When I looked at credit card statements of 2017 Starting in August 2nd, several local rooms were purchased at the Anchor Beach Inn. Keep in mind the average purchase of the most expensive room in August was $145.00 plus local tax.
Bates # 000154-000155
Two separate purchases of rooms were for $659.95 each. 2 more rooms were purchased at $494.95 each.  One room was purchased for $296.97 one room purchased for $263.98. And why the fair paid for Dan Gokey’s room in Central Point Oregon, 4 nights, 3 rooms  for $308.02 and one room for $201.66. (the most expensive room at the Holiday Inn Express in Central Oregon was $145.00 plus tax.)

If you look at the credit card statement you will see several rooms over the State mandated limit of $95.00. Something smells real bad here.

Additionally, several thousand dollars worth of purchases with a credit card was made without having a credit card policy that demonstrated credit card control sheet, limitations,  log or back up documentation for items purchased. There are two sitting CPA’s appointed by your office,  on the 41st DAA that condoned this behavior? Why? This is unconscionable.  Rich Taylor who is still serving on the board and Kevin Hartwick who resigned in October after I started asking questions about the Del Norte Grand Jury report.

Hatfield and Floyd flamboyantly demonstrated a complete disregard to any public policy, regulation, or procedure including law resulting in lack of transparency to the public, AND the inability to properly guard and protect precious taxpayer money.

The Audit demonstrated managers Floyd and Hatfield did not require employees to submit monthly attendance records for 15 of 24 months.  In fact 56 hours of paid leave used by employees (approximately $1,500.00) was not deducted from related employee’s accrued leave balances. This is fraud and would have continued if Sacramento had not pointed it out.

On April 16, 2019, Ms. Floyd was highly confrontational towards me when I requested a PRA request to obtain a copy of the audit. First, Floyd told me she no longer keeps forms for PRA requests for the public that they were all burned and I had to go through the legal department for a PRA request.

Ms. Floyd also stated to me I was not suppose to be in the fair office without someone else with me. When I asked her who told her that, she stated the California Highway Patrol. Although I received a copy of the audit it was with great displeasure as she was demonstrating unprofessional behavior. I did contact the CHP regarding this matter who informed me what she said was inaccurate.

Ms. Floyd is the appointed representative of the 41st DAA. She informed the Del Norte Triplicate Newspaper that I was the one who made allegations that $921,920.81 instead of the Del Norte Grand Jury. Ms. Floyd states in the article I costed the taxpayers $20,000.00 for the audit, $6,000.00 for legal fees and $7,820.00 for the election because I had decided to run.

I have to ask, is this the representation the Governor wants for our County? The Agriculture and Food/Fairs and Expositions is vicariously liable for these types of actions and behaviors. I certainly hope these individuals along with the 41st DAA are held accountable for their complete disregard to protect taxpayers money.

This is how bad it has got. On December 31, 2018, Kim Floyd sent a secret email to all board members to have a volunteer Appreciation Dinner on January 16, 2019. I had worked 40 hours plus for the fair as a volunteer. I was not allowed to attend the volunteer appreciation dinner.

This is not professional representation for the state. “B. E-Mail Prohibition Section 11122.5 was amended by Stats. 2009, c. 150 (A.B. 1494) to provide:

(b)(1) A majority of the members of the state body shall not, outside of a meeting authorized by this chapter, use a series of communications of any kind, directly or through intermediaries to discuss, deliberate, or take action on any item of business that is within the subject matter of the state body.”

“The enactment of subdivision (b) of section 11122.5, expands upon and confirms a recent opinion of the Attorney General prohibiting the use of e-mail to reach a collective decision outside a regularly scheduled meeting. In 84 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 30, the Attorney General concluded that: 
“A majority of the board members of a local public agency may not email each other to develop a collective concurrence as to action to be taken by the board without violating the Ralph M. Brown Act even if the e-mails are also sent to the secretary and chairperson of the agency, the e-mails are posted on the agency’s Internet website, and a printed version of each e-mail is reported at the next public meeting of the board.”

In closing, Kim Floyd was hired as the fair manager because of her father Randy Hatfield. Ms. Floyd does not have the education, desire, passion, or understanding of the importance of knowing her job nor the policies, procedures and regulations. There were 4 applicants from other states that applied. It is my belief the reason someone from the outside was not hired was so the embezzlement and fraud could continue.

7 Responses to Are the Fairground Boards Guilty of Embezzlement?

  1. Leslie Barnes Reply

    September 28, 2019 at 9:31 am

    I certainly agree with What The Hell! Linda Sutter is one of the best unpaid detectives that Crescent City and Del Norte County has to offer Plus she tells it like it REALLY is! Personally I would love to see her on the GRAND JURY! Thank you Linda for having the interest and doing what you do and putting it in the CCTimes!

  2. Leslie Barnes Reply

    September 21, 2019 at 1:40 am

    Linda will tell it like it is! They really need to Check This Fair Grounds out ! We already know what they did ! Now’s the time to prosecute people on the FAIRBOARD!

  3. anonymos Reply

    September 14, 2019 at 6:12 pm

    So it surely appears that was another boondoggle. We have Westfall and or Sutter make unbelievable and outrageous charges. Post them on this rag and social media and then nothing ever happens to the accused. Case is closed except for the fact of the expenditures caused by these self appointed “whistle blowers”. How do we get our $100,000s of thousands of dollars back? Or when does somebody go to jail. WHERE IS THE BEEF??

  4. anonymous Reply

    August 30, 2019 at 6:33 pm

    Why in the heck aren’t the cops and D.A. involved in this investigation?

    • Celia Wetherell Reply

      September 19, 2019 at 3:50 pm

      Because it is Del Norte county.

  5. Linda Sutter Reply

    August 21, 2019 at 10:32 pm

    Thank you. I appreciate the recognition as the work i did on the fairgrounds created immediate changes that were long overdue since the creation of the Parks and Recreation Fairboard and the measure “F” taxation.

    It is vitally important when an organization such as this is developed that the members of that organization know, understand, and follow policy, procedures, regulations, and laws.

    I’m glad you saw that segment on KCRA TV as I would not have known about it. I imagine after I brought light to what was going on up here, it opened up a whole can of worms state wide. Thank you again.

  6. What the hell Reply

    August 20, 2019 at 6:20 pm

    Linda, KCRA TV in Sacramento just finished a segment tonight on County Fairgrounds abuses. The State Auditor will punish as necessary and counties will be asked to pay back funds that were inappropriately spent. The county fairs with abuses were not identified.

    I will agree with others that you can be a pain in the patootie at times but because of your diligence and perseverance, you have also done a great job in holding folks accountable. It takes a special person to do that.

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